Designer: Rachel Sin
Location: Toronto, Canada
About Rachel: “I started in 2009 in Ottawa. I was working as an architect. I had hard time looking for clothing that you could wear to work, that would express you and your creativity – other than boring stores in a mall offering you boring professional womenswear. I had a lot of time in Ottawa – as there was not much to do there – so while doing my Masters, I took sewing classes. Having Chinese parents, I couldn’t go straight into fashion. And I thought architecture was a perfect balance: technical yet creative. I think if you are a good architect, you can be good at designing anything. I don’t regret choosing it. I think it makes me a better designer. Because architecture is a design but on a bigger scale, whereas with clothing it’s a smaller scale, where you can have more control over it”.
Advice to young designers: “You definitely have to be passionate about what you do because it is a tough industry. And it takes time, it does not happen overnight. Any business takes about 10 years to grow, you have to understand that you are there for a long call”.
Margarita Kadochnikova: Do you remember your very first fashion show and where it was?
Rachel Sin: My first fashion show was in Ottawa, it was probably Ottawa Fashion Week. I think with any designer, it takes time to develop a collection that is more consistent. Over the years, I have developed that and now I know what the brand is really about and I try to stay true to that. But we have come a long way in these 8 years.
Since you studied architecture, do you get inspired by the cities you lived in (Toronto, for example)?
I do! And I travel a lot. My designs are more structural, form-fitting. And at the same time, just like a building has to function for whatever purpose it serves, i think clothing has to be comfortable to wear. Something you can wear all day, and, at the same time, look good. So I think that is why my clothing is very wearable compared to any other designers you see on the runway.
What travel plans do you have for this summer?
This year I’m taking travel to a whole new level. I usually go to Hong Kong twice a year, as I produce everything there. And when I go there, I try to take a small vacation between the production time. But this year I am travelling even more than I did last year. I am going to Guatemala and then flying through Miami to attend dance congress there – so I’m excited for that! Then maybe Cuba in May and Hong Kong in July or August. I think travel is really great to re-charge and inspire you. And it is the best way to learn and meet new people, have new experiences.
What is the favourite part of your job?
The favourite part is that I get to be creative. I get to put my dreams to reality. That is such a good feeling. For example, dance is also my passion. I love it. That’s why this season collection was inspired by kizomba dance. You could see some of the dresses and some of the pieces where you can wear them from desk to drinks, to dance. It is like you can take the blazer off, and then you can wear the dress to a dance party.
How has professional womenswear changed in the last 5 years?
I definitely think it’s got more casual, there are lot more options, which is great. And then a lot of the offices where it is creative professional look. You are not necessarily wearing a two-piece suit. It allows you to be more creative and gives you more options. Take blazer, for example, it can make any outfit more polished, professional. But at the same time, you can take it off and go to a bar, show off the dress that you are wearing.
What is your goal for the next few years?
Expanding to the States and major cities in Canada. It is great that now with online advertising, you can take it wherever you want, and promote your business.